Lymphedema is a condition caused by a mechanical insufficiency of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is responsible for elimination of protein and excess fluid that accumulate in our body that the blood circulatory system cannot flush out. People can develop lymphedema as a child without a known cause. This is called “primary lymphedema”. “Secondary lymphedema” is caused by a precipitating event such as after surgery, cancer treatment, or a parasitic infection. Venous insufficiency also makes people susceptible to developing lymphedema.
The most researched and clinically effective treatment for lymphedema is Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) including Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD), and the application of short stretch, compression bandages. The appropriate application of compression bandages is essential to reduce the severity of your lymphedema. Kana Arreguin DPT, CLT (highlight name and link to her bio) is our lymphedema specialist at Bodywise. She will guide you throughout both the intensive, and maintenance phases of your treatment.
During the intensive phase, you will meet with Kana, one-on-one, in the clinic, several x per week for 1-2 hours. At your first session she will perform a thorough assessment of your effected limb(s), take pre-treatment measurements, check your skin and nails for any infections, educate you on your specific case of lymphedema, and determine your overall plan of care. On each follow up visit, she will continue to monitor your skin and nails, perform manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), and wrap your arm or leg with compression bandages.
Kana will constantly monitor the progression of the reduction of your lymphedema. Once your limb has reduced appropriately, Kana will take a precise measurement to fit you for a compression garment to wear during the day instead of the bandages. Additionally, she will work with you to develop an appropriate exercise program, and self care routine to manage your lymphedema at home. You will continue to follow up in the clinic until you are completely comfortable with your maintenance program.